There are some relationships and friendships that are just a little stronger, a little different and a little bit harder to explain. We call ourselves soul mate friends because quite honestly she is more than a friend- she is a soul mate. Kathleen and I met during a study abroad trip in New Zealand back in 2011. Once we finally took the time to hang out, we connected in a way that was unexplainable. I still can’t quite comprehend it myself, but I love it. It’s this beautiful friendship and bond I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Despite seeing each other just once since I left Dunedin, I consider her one of my best friends. When I finally got to pick her up at the airport Thursday night, I was beng. Dramatic entrance to the airport commenced as I flew in to SeaTac with my horn blaring. I didn’t care that it was Midnight and that people were tired and perhaps a little caught off guard, I was finally seeing my best friend! Right away, it was as if we see each other every day. There was no awkward hello, no awkward silence and no awkward conversation. We gracefully settled into our conversations and interactions as if time wasn’t a thing. We could pick up right where we left off. Nothing had changed.
Our friend Paul from Ireland had flew into Seattle a few days prior, so the three of us spent Friday exploring downtown Seattle a bit. We had breakfast at the Blue Star Café in Wallingford. Kathleen and I couldn’t get over how synced we were. Without trying, we had matching outfits- Canadian tuxedo anyone? – Matching nail polish and then ordered the same breakfast. Chowing down on our breakfast burritos, we caught up on love, life and how the real world has been treating us. It’s interesting to note the contrast of how grown up we seemed since New Zealand. Literally babies at the time, we weren’t even 21 when we were thrown on our own, in a beautiful country, to roam around for 6 months. I never would have believed the friendship I found there- forever thankful.
After breakfast it was time to explore! First stop, the classic Public Market down at Pike’s Place. The staple of Seattle, it is a must see for any visitor. It’s always booming with people, fish, flowers and freelance musicians and makes for a fun late morning. Finding parking was a little rough, it was Friday morning of a Holiday weekend and people were everywhere downtown. Just as we were about to bite the bullet and park in a ramp, we scored on an awesome street spot. Walking a few blocks to Pike’s, Kathleen first wanted to see the first Starbucks. The line wasn’t as long as I had seen it before so we decided to wait and get drinks. Paul had to get used to the idea of being with women who like to chill and take our time with things but he was being a good sport. We ordered then stood in another line for our drinks to be made. The workers made the wait fun, doing a cheer and having fun each time a drink was ready. It was funny to join in with the whoops and hollers and to notice the various reactions from people, making their way through the crowd to get their drinks.
Latte’s in hand, we walked out to the streets, taking in the beautiful blue skies that were opening up above. We decided to stroll through the market, checking out the flowers, little trinkets and food that were all around. I was busy snapping photos- the Public Market is always an awesome spot to get great photos, and of course, to people watch. The famous Fish Market was bustling with camera flashes and tourists. The flower shops were in full bloom- spewing beautiful and bright colors over the otherwise dark hallway. Kathleen and I requested to have the giant fish thrown over our heads- something they are well known for doing. Laughing the entire time, it felt great to have a true friend by my side again.
Heading down the small staircase, tucked away in the market we headed to the gum wall. The overwhelming fumes of old bubble gum took over my senses as I wrinkled my nose. I’m not quite sure why this is such a neat spot, it’s cool to see but it’s quite disgusting. However, it’s definitely something that needs to be seen when you make your way to Seattle. Snapping some quick photos we wanted to also make it down to the Great Wheel before our time was up at the car. Due to construction, the Seattle waterfront is a cluster right now. We made our way across, dodging cars and people to get some twin photos by the Great Wheel. We just couldn’t get over our matching outfits!
Back at the car, we had a few more hours to burn before it was time to head to the airport to pick up Libby and Eric (both of which were flying in from Minneapolis). We Yelped some good dive bars in Belltown so we could get a quick cocktail. We found this place called, “Shorty’s” which sounded promising. It said it had a patio (credits!) and had some fun games to play inside. Driving to Belltown, we found quick parking and walked into Shorty’s. When we got there, Kathleen and I couldn’t stop laughing. The “patio” was nothing more than some broken chairs on the sidewalk, enclosed with the sketchiest fence I have ever seen in a bar. The sign looked like a broken down circus sign from the 1950s. Not wanting to judge on appearances, we went inside and continued to laugh. It was surprisingly worse than the outside. Too dark to even see one another, it was literally the most run down and terrifying bar I had ever seen. We were afraid our drinks would include LSD or something dangerous we didn’t want ingesting into our bodies. Just as fast as we went in the door, we went out.
Next door, another dive bar had an advertisement for happy hour 3-7 so we gave that a try. Much better. The woman behind the bar was friendly and made us some rum infused slushes with sliced fruit on top. Delicious. Sitting outside, the weather was starting to take a turn but we wanted to enjoy the last little bit of sunshine that was out. Laughing and talking, the three of us enjoyed some drinks and the good company for an hour before leaving to pick up the others.
Driving back to the airport, we were so excited. It had been nearly 4 years since we had our old group together. This weekend was something we had been looking forward to for so long- it was going to be amazing. The only thing missing was Jensy! Right on time, we saw their Delta flight landing as we were driving. 5 minutes later we were at the airport, anxiously waiting for our friends to show up. Paul had to go to the bathroom so we dropped him off while we circled the terminal so we could make the most dramatic entrance possible. Once we received the cue that they were outside waiting, we came in full speed with “Get Outta Your Mind” blaring, windows down and dancing full out. The song was ‘our’ song in New Zealand so we thought it was fitting. Hugs all around- we were all so excited to finally be back together. Libby, Eric and Paul squished into the backseat as we drove back to Seattle. Catching up and rambling on about life, again, it felt like nothing had changed in 4 years. Well, everything had changed, we had grown up a lot but the relationship and the dynamic was the same and as effortless as it had always been.
Having the three girls back together had me feeling like a child at Christmas. When you find those strong friendships, you cling to them and cherish each moment of togetherness. That was exactly the mindset I was in. Knowing that I only got a single weekend with my friends, I wanted to soak it all in and enjoy every last moment. The last missing piece of the puzzle- Dan- met up with us at my house. Together, we all went down to Ballard for dinner and drinks. We spent the night laughing over old memories, informing of our present lives and telling tales of the past four years. Of course, there was the planning of the weekend as well. Changing destinations, we were going to hike Mt. Baker Lake the next day. Everyone was feeling excited and ready for some outdoor fun with the old New Zealand crew. It was truly a sweet as reunion.